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Diabetes mellitus in cats and the veterinary nurse's role

02 November 2016
18 mins read
Volume 7 · Issue 9


Diabetes mellitus is a common endocrinopathy in cats with an increasing prevalence, likely reflecting the changes in nutrition and lifestyle of domestic cats. The management of the disease requires good communication between the owner of the diabetic cat and the veterinary team. This article discusses the causes and consequences of diabetes in cats, treatment options and role of the veterinary nurse in the management of the condition.

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease caused by insulin resistance or reduced insulin secretion with the end result of persistent hyperglycaemia. The prevalence of DM is estimated to be one in 170 cats in the UK (Panciera et al, 1990; O'Neill et al, 2016). This is likely to be due to a greater prevalence of obesity in cats, increased longevity and indoor confinement (Scarlett and Donoghue, 1998; Slingerland et al, 2009; Courcier et al, 2010). Other risk factors include being neutered and certain breeds have a higher risk, such as Burmese cats (Rand et al, 1997). Male gender has been reported to be a risk factor in some but not all studies (O'Neill et al, 2016).

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